Coordinating Multiple Sequencers

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Coordinating Multiple Sequencers

Post by StepLogik » Tue Feb 03, 2009 4:51 am

I'm curious what strategy you guys use to coordinate multiple myriad sequencers. Do you sync each box and use the internal sequencers or do you just use one global sequencer and treat everything else as a sound module?

I'm kinda struggling with this. Keeping track of patterns across multiple devices is a bit of a headache. I find that using an Excel Spreadsheet is a good tool for planning pattern chains across multiple devices. It is, ultimately, still a PITA to create the song chains and enter them into the different sequencers.

As a glutton for punishment, I actually wrote some VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) code in Excel to try and transmit Sysex to the various devices to reduce the manual data entry. I quickly gave up after a valiant effort #-o (For those so inclined, MIDI-OX can be instantiated as COM object inside of VB/Office applications).

Maybe I really just need to get a Genoqs Octopus. That would be a great way to consolidate sequencing for multiple X0X-style devices, drum machines, etc.

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Re: Coordinating Multiple Sequencers

Post by Stab Frenzy » Tue Feb 03, 2009 5:37 am

Midi Clock.

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Re: Coordinating Multiple Sequencers

Post by 23 » Tue Feb 03, 2009 12:24 pm

Stab Frenzy wrote:Midi Clock.
[youtube]3YmMNpbFjp0[/youtube]

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Re: Coordinating Multiple Sequencers

Post by StepLogik » Tue Feb 03, 2009 1:24 pm

Stab Frenzy wrote:Midi Clock.
:lol:

Sync is the easy part. The headache lies in programming your tune into multiple sequencers. Just keeping two or three devices' pattern chains (songs) together is one thing - I can't imagine doing it for a tune using 5 or 6 drum machines/sequencers/groove boxes.

If you decide to add another 4 bars somewhere, you've got to go change your sequence in multiple places. #-o

Maybe I'm just lazy.

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Re: Coordinating Multiple Sequencers

Post by 23 » Tue Feb 03, 2009 2:46 pm

StepLogik wrote:
Stab Frenzy wrote:Midi Clock.
:lol:

Sync is the easy part. The headache lies in programming your tune into multiple sequencers. Just keeping two or three devices' pattern chains (songs) together is one thing - I can't imagine doing it for a tune using 5 or 6 drum machines/sequencers/groove boxes.

If you decide to add another 4 bars somewhere, you've got to go change your sequence in multiple places. #-o

Maybe I'm just lazy.
I've found it to be pretty simplistic so long as time signatures aren't being jumped around.
Time signature jumps can easily begin needing to require some pretty annoying necessary global readjustments (In my experience)
But otherwise, my method has been to keep various things locked to various types of tasks.
There may be a sequencer setup for 16 measures
Another for 8
Some for 1
etc. etc.
How information is distributed amongst sequencers and devices can vary of course....some devices may be controlled be receiving from only one sequencer, some may be (potentially) receiving from more than one sequencer, etc.

Granted a lot will depend on the types of sequencers in use, how there info is distributed, what type of info they are putting out, etc.
But ultimately I've found things can be pretty efficiently set up. Of course there's only so much one can do at one time, but I've found things can be setup efficiently enough to go beyond just totally basic (realtime/improved) song composition.

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Re: Coordinating Multiple Sequencers

Post by Stab Frenzy » Tue Feb 03, 2009 4:16 pm

StepLogik wrote:
Stab Frenzy wrote:Midi Clock.
:lol:

Sync is the easy part. The headache lies in programming your tune into multiple sequencers. Just keeping two or three devices' pattern chains (songs) together is one thing - I can't imagine doing it for a tune using 5 or 6 drum machines/sequencers/groove boxes.

If you decide to add another 4 bars somewhere, you've got to go change your sequence in multiple places. #-o

Maybe I'm just lazy.
Depends how you work really. I used to do stuff with an MPC, and mute and unmute parts live to make the arrangement. That method works on multiple sequencers as well. If you want to do a lot of non-realtime editing, ie running everything in song mode and then messing with stuff like part lengths etc I reckon you'd be crazy to use multiple sequencers at a time when you could easily do it all on just one like an MPC or a software sequencer. Perhaps you're a masochist though? :D

For a new project I'm doing at the moment the live show will involve lots of pattern sequences running simultaneously (MEK, V-Synth, XL-7 etc) and I'm just syncing them all with midi clock and then using the volume knobs to bring them in and out. No point making things overly complicated IMO.

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Re: Coordinating Multiple Sequencers

Post by Phollop Willing PA » Tue Feb 03, 2009 9:35 pm

I use an MC 50 (Roland) for my main sequencer (I'm not fond of using 'puters for music making) and in the latter part of the chain, I use a QX 7 (Yamaha) mainly to drive the Moog. I make sure the Moog is sequenced first and then I use my other modules. It works for me.
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Re: Coordinating Multiple Sequencers

Post by Zamise » Wed Feb 04, 2009 12:27 am

I'd recomend doing each individualy and master/slaving them. Not only does it free up the most tracks it also allows each sequencer to do its thing on a sound, sometimes the sequencer itself is part of its character that can't always be passed thru midi. You can loose that when you start sequencing another sequencer especially if they are difrent kinds of sequencers, plus you'll also loose tracks. It always seems like a waste to me to do otherwise. However, yeah its easier to use them as sound module sometimes too instead. If you've got 3 or 4 seqs that have their own sounds with them, maybe master/slave two and use two as sound modules. It don't sound like fun trying to do 4 difrent songs on 4 difrent seqs and then slaving 3 of them, it would be a pain editing in an extra measure or pattern loop like you say. 2 isn't so bad, if you've got more than 4+ seqs running simultaniously then your getting a bit insane. Majority of the time I actually don't even midi them up, as so one can load while the other is playing a totally dif song.
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Re: Coordinating Multiple Sequencers

Post by divineaudio » Wed Feb 04, 2009 4:56 am

StepLogik wrote:
Stab Frenzy wrote:Midi Clock.
:lol:

Sync is the easy part. The headache lies in programming your tune into multiple sequencers. Just keeping two or three devices' pattern chains (songs) together is one thing - I can't imagine doing it for a tune using 5 or 6 drum machines/sequencers/groove boxes.

If you decide to add another 4 bars somewhere, you've got to go change your sequence in multiple places. #-o

Maybe I'm just lazy.
i used to do this. editing was a real b***h when the setup consisted of 2-3 electribes plus a boss drum machine, poly800 and an esq1. :evil:

which prompted me to take one of two routes, depending what project i'm working on - band/collab work with others - laptop as main sequencer recording midi loops into ableton.

or for solo work - strip down my setup to esx, er1, sp202 and nord. i add the ms20 in usually as samples, which also saves me from having to take it out live with the mobius. all the complexity now comes from mixing/production rather than midi/sequencing issues.

i'm lazy too! :mrgreen:

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Re: Coordinating Multiple Sequencers

Post by killanator » Wed Feb 04, 2009 7:06 am

considering I only have 3 sequencers and i only really use 2 of them its pretty easy. i sequence the ES-1 internally and everything else with ableton. if i want to do a more complex pattern then the es-1 sequencer can handle then ill use it as a sound module.

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Re: Coordinating Multiple Sequencers

Post by StepLogik » Wed Feb 04, 2009 1:31 pm

I think I could sequence everything from my Electribe if only it had polyphonic sequencer tracks. I wish any part could be set to a "poly" mode and could then be used to drive an external module. Instead I find myself using the garbage sequencer in the Fantom G for synth tracking, drums in the Electribe (the Fantom has no grid editor and that's the way I prefer to program drums) and then using the two FR R2 sequencers.

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Re: Coordinating Multiple Sequencers

Post by balma » Thu Feb 05, 2009 7:51 pm

When you use several sequencers and transmit the throught MIDI clock on a linear chain,it's probable that the last one of the chain shows a little bit of latency, that will increase while the time pass by....

When using this type of setup, is strongly recommendable to use sequencers that have more than just one MIDI out, like the EMU command station.

I use two command stations, with them together I can control and coordinate wathever..... they transmit not only midi clock or song start info, but also notes....
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Re: Coordinating Multiple Sequencers

Post by StepLogik » Thu Feb 05, 2009 8:19 pm

balma wrote:When you use several sequencers and transmit the throught MIDI clock on a linear chain,it's probable that the last one of the chain shows a little bit of latency, that will increase while the time pass by....
while the last sequencer in the chain might show some latency, it will not increase as time passes by. the latency will always be constant from start to finish.

a midi hub is preferable over long midi chains.

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